Giving Back … AGAIN!
You may or may not know, but last August I was diagnosed with a second primary breast cancer. The first time I was diagnosed was as I departed the Navy in 2014 on the left breast. This time it was on the right breast. I am fortunate, yet again, to have found it early and it was again, Ductal Carcioma Situ (DCIS) Stage 0. Both times I had a lumpectomy and radiation. The first time the radiation was for 8 weeks and this time it was 4 weeks. I also had some reconstructive surgery this time on both sides. The first time I was on Tamoxifen for 6 years, and this time I’m on Exemestane for 5-10 years.
For those of you who were aware, I have to say thank you again for your support, prayers, and encouragement this past year. I am feeling strong and healthy and in October 2023, I will be officially one-year cancer free again.
As I close in on this important milestone, I can’t help but reflect on my journey again. I felt so blessed in 2014/2015 that I embarked on a journey of educating as many people as I could about the importance of screening and taking care of oneself. I physically gave back in 2017 at the Avon 39, The Walk to End Breast Cancer in Washington DC with my ‘Trekkers for Ta Tas’ Team (Kristine, Wendy & Kathleen) and another 2000+ 39ers. In those 2 days in DC alone, 2000 of us raised over $4M to increase access to cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment and support research and education in the DC area.
I can tell you, that since 2014, the improvements I’ve seen to detecting, diagnosing and treatment of breast cancer are impressive. Mammograms are not nearly as invasive and painful as they once were, the imaging is markedly better, and radiation therapy is much more accurate now, reducing the amount of time it’s needed. And there are other advances that I didn’t experience personally such as sentinel node mapping which reduces lymphedema cases, and genomic testing now that minimizes chemotherapy exposure, as well as a myriad others. Since I’ve now had breast cancer two times, I’ve qualified for genetic testing for hereditary cancer and am awaiting the results of 84 of my genes that were tested recently.
But there is still much more to be done to eradicate breast cancer.
Breast cancer accounts for 12.5% of all new annual cancer cases worldwide, making it the most common cancer in the world. About 13% (about 1 in 8) of U.S. women are going to develop invasive breast cancer in the course of their life.
This year alone, an estimated 297,790 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in U.S. women, along with 55,720 new cases of DCIS. In 2023, an estimated 2,800 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 833. There are currently more than 3.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the United States. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among U.S. women. About 30% of all newly diagnosed cancers in women each year are breast cancer. This information is provided by Breastcancer.org. You can read more if you want, in this report: Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2022-2024.
Too many of the new (and older) cases, are people I know. In fact, if you look around yourself, I bet you know more than a handful who have died or are among the 3.8 million living with a history of having breast cancer. It pisses me off and it should piss you off too!
So…since I’m still here and lucky a second time, I am proud to give back again. I have committed to walking 60 miles in three days as part of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day in November in beautiful San Diego, California. I’ll be walking 60 miles, sleep in a pink tent, and join thousands of other walkers who are committed to ending breast cancer forever.
Susan G. Komen is the world’s largest breast cancer organization outside of the federal government, funding more breast cancer research than any other nonprofit while providing real-time help to those facing the disease. Since its founding in 1982, Komen has funded more than $1.1 billion in research and provided more than $2.3 billion in funding to screening, education, treatment and psychosocial support programs. Komen has worked in more than 60 countries worldwide. I strongly believe that my diagnosis, treatment, and recovery have been so successful because of the support that the Komen organization has provided to the research in this field.
My personal goal is to raise $4000 and I am asking for your help to meet this goal. You can donate at The3Day.org, follow the link below to make an online donation, call 800-996-3DAY or donate by check, made payable to Susan G. Komen 3-Day. Donation checks can also be mailed to me and I will submit them with a copy of my personalized donation form. Or I can even send you the form electronically. Please also consider that your company may offer to match your donation. No amount is too small, even $25 will help me reach my goal.
I am walking in celebration of my health, for women who aren’t healthy enough to walk, and in honor of those who have lost their battle. I walk because I am committed to the fight against breast cancer! You are the best support system I could ask for and I hope you consider supporting our team and helping in the fight against breast cancer.
3 Days. 60 Miles. Not as hard as breast cancer.
Susan G. Koman, San Diego 3 Day 2023
Participant ID: 8252305